Eugene J. Meidinger, a 2010 graduate of Penn State Beaver’s information sciences and technology program, is the recipient of the third annual Pittsburgh Volunteer Citizen of the Year Award sponsored by Direct Energy and Trib Total Media.
Meidinger was honored for his work with Crisis Center North (CCN), a Pittsburgh community resource and outreach center for victims of sexual and domestic violence. In 2007, CCN proposed the Western Regional Training Initiative (WRTI), which was the first online training resource developed to combat state and federal funding cuts to domestic violence and sexual assault centers. The WRTI allows participating programs to share trainers and training materials, maximizing the use of already scarce resources. Meidinger assisted in the development of a CCN website that hosts streaming video and other important training modules.
While a senior at Beaver campus, Meidinger created the website’s interface to access training videos and necessary back-up systems, which allows the WTRI website to build bridges in the University community, engage students in social change work and house vital training materials in one convenient location. The site also provides improved outreach for individuals with disabilities. As a result of Meidinger’s efforts, hundreds of additional volunteers and staff are trained and available to assist victims. Grace Coleman, CNN executive director, nominated Meidinger for the award and noted that his technical talents helped domestic violence and sexual assault centers throughout southwestern Pennsylvania. Through the website, WRTI has seen extensive benefits, including an annual savings of more than $100,000 in training costs. Last year more than 500 users, ages 18 to 73, accessed the website.
Meidinger was honored at a ceremony April 1 at the Center for Hope in Ambridge. He received a $2,500 donation from Direct Energy which will be given to CCN to assist with expenses associated with maintaining the WRTI training website. For information about the award, contact CCN at 412-364-5556 or visit www.crisiscenternorth.org.